Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Virtual Guru?
Virtual Guru is a state-of-the art audio “knowledge transfer tool” that records the words of wisdom or W.O.W. of subject matter experts for the benefit of your entire organization. The technology and process are simple, and the results are quick. We digitally record MP3 and WAV files. The play-back of information is an indexed Q&A, and it’s as easy as clicking a link on the Web or listening to a tune on your ipod.
Virtual Guru is an application whose time has come.
2. Why is Virtual Guru important?
What we’re hearing over and over is that organizations are losing their top performers. There are a variety of reasons:
Even organizations that have not yet lost their experts are beginning to wonder what will happen when those top performers are no longer around to answer the questions as only they can. When key players give notice, there may be only days — sometimes minutes —to capture their knowledge and your intellectual property. Using conventional methods, that’s not enough time to do it right.
Let’s face it, if you’re like me, you’ve worked hard to get your organization where it is today. Keep your culture, hard-earned best practices and intellectual capital working for you. We think Virtual Guru is the best way to hang onto what you have and make it even better.
3. What are some applications?
Virtual Guru isn’t just about fear of losing information. It’s also about capturing it and using it within your organization. There are dozens of applications. Here are a few of the typical ones:
The list is almost endless — it’s for any application in which there’s no viable substitute for expert knowledge.
4. Who needs Virtual Guru?
Anyone who needs to save time, money, reduce risk and build organizational credibility.
Virtual Guru lets you:
While Virtual Guru is an immediate solution, we can also turn sound bites into interactive simulations and learning games with the power to change behavior and build your culture.
5. What kind of impact does Virtual Guru have on individuals within an organization?
The impact of Virtual Guru is immediate — both for the subject matter expert and for the rest of your organization.
People learn from experts’ experience and stories. Virtual Guru makes it easy for everyone at every level of the organization to learn from the best — just in time.
6. What is the Virtual Guru process?
We interview your experts, using carefully developed questions that get right to the heart of what they do so well — and not just the WHAT, but equally as important, the HOW. Then we edit, catalog and turn the information into easily digestible sound bites in a Q&A format that can be accessed anywhere and anytime there is a learning opportunity and electronic access.
With Atlas Island’s LIFE™ program, we can also turn the wisdom of your experts into customized, interactive simulations and learning games with the power to change behavior and build your culture.
7. Why does Virtual Guru use audio, not video, to capture experts’ wisdom?
First, Virtual Guru can use video. For most applications, we suggest audio because:
Audio files are also easier to distribute. The interviews can play on nearly any modern electronic device, whether or not there’s a video display. The interviews typically appear in a succinct Q & A format so that searching for the right answer is direct and quick.
8. Tell me about your experience. Why should organizations choose Virtual Guru over others?
We do more than just capture audio or video files. Anyone with a tape recorder or camcorder can do that.
Our expertise is in three areas:
9. Does Virtual Guru comply with eLearning standards, like SCORM?
Yes. You can import a Virtual Guru MP3 file into your authoring tool and export to SCORM when you publish and you're good to go.
10. Where is Virtual Guru available?
Virtual Guru is available through Atlas Island Media. We are based in San Francisco, but Virtual Guru is not geographically specific. It can be used anywhere in the world because interviews are captured by phone, and the files can be delivered electronically. It’s easy and fast.
You can reach us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our office, (858) 792-0961. All our contact information appears on this web site.
11. What are the ways organizations use Virtual Guru?
There are four levels of Virtual Guru application:
12. Tell us about “Full-service Virtual Guru
We consult with you about your experts and the results you’re looking for. Then we perform the interviews that capture the wisdom of experts’ in their own voices. After that we edit, categorize — and, depending on the size of the project — usually return the audio files to you in a matter of days, along with a suggestion for the graphic user interface.
That’s one way that we work.
13. What is the Virtual Guru Toolkit
This is a self-study and self-service option. For a licensing fee, we provide you with the tools and the handbook that explains how to use them. Your own people do the work. They create the questions, perform the interviews, edit and deliver the final product. This option answers the need for organizations that will be using Virtual Guru on an ongoing basis — and that have professionals with the time and ability to do it.
14. There is a virtual guru workshop – tell me about that
In the workshop, you get the Virtual Guru toolkit that I just explained, and you get us to train your people in the process. The hardware and software are fairly easy to learn, and we provide some practice with that. But the majority of the workshop is involved with the most critical skill: Figuring out the right questions to ask and how to ask them — how to listen and probe and pull out the secrets, the best war stories and the W.O.W.
15. I understand there are also Virtual Guru Custom Training Programs
This is different than the “Virtual Guru Workshop.” It is a custom program developed exclusively for the client. It is usually based on captured Virtual Guru interviews. We turn them into formalized training programs with case studies, for example, built around your organization. Participants might hear a war story, determine best practices based on the war story, and then listen to the guru’s resolution. It’s impossible to describe the programs fully because every one is customized to the client’s needs.
16. What does Virtual Guru cost?
The answer is: “It depends.” The four different programs all carry different price tags depending on scope and complexity.
For organizations that use Virtual Guru on a regular basis for everything from CEO newscasts to training and development — and who have people with the time and expertise to use it, the Toolkit would be the most cost-effective. There’s a licensing fee that depends on the number of people in your organization.
The Virtual Guru Workshop — which imparts the Virtual Guru process — would be the next most cost-effective for frequent users. It speeds up the learning curve for the people in your organization who will be performing the Virtual Guru services. The size of your organization will determine the price.
Organizations that have a limited need for Virtual Guru would probably do best with the full-service option — although we’re quite sure that once your organization discovers how easy and valuable the process is — you’ll soon opt for the licensed version.
Customized Virtual Guru programs usually carry the highest price-tag because this is custom work. It’s impossible to quote a standard price because there are so many variables, but our prices are in line with other custom training development.
Please contact us and tell us your needs, and we'll be delighted to discuss costs on a case basis. There's a more important consideration than the cost of Virtual Guru: What do you stand to lose if one of your star performers - someone with your proprietary secrets - walks out the door for the last time TODAY, and you have not captured that knowledge?
Contact us for more information and a free consultation.
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